Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) rode into Paris on a yellow Specialized S-Works Tarmac to mark the Italian’s coronation as the 2014 Tour de France champion.
The 29-year-old, who is only the sixth rider in history to win all three of cycling’s Grand Tours, traded in the custom
shark-themed Tarmac he rode throughout the Tour (save for the cobbles on stage five, when he swapped to the Roubaix ‘Classics’ bike) for something more fitting for the procession in to Paris.
As a result, Nibali has had the privilege of riding two custom machines at the Tour but it’s nothing new to see one-off designs produced by bike manufacturers in honour of some of cycling’s best riders in what is the sport’s biggest shop window.
With the curtain about to fall on the 101st edition of the Tour de France, we’ve taken a look back at some of the best custom bikes to feature in this year’s edition of the race.
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Specialized presented this one-off yellow S-Works Tarmac to Vincenzo Nibali ahead of the final stage to Paris. Astana team staff donned yellow t-shirts while riders wore yellow bib shorts but were forced to change back to their regular blue shorts prior to the start of the stage as a team is not allowed to change kits during a race. (Pic: BrakeThrough Media)
In all its glory
Nibali started the race on a shark-themed Tarmac, in honour of his nickname as the Shark of Messina (the Italian's birthplace in Italy) but ended the 101st on this machine as a tribute to the 29-year-old becoming only the sixth rider in history to win all three Grand Tours. (Pic: BrakeThrough Media)
The yellow theme runs throughout the bike, including the Campagnolo Super Record hoods, handlebar tape, FSA cockpit components and LOOK pedals. The yellow jersey on the toptube is a neat touch. (Pic: BrakeThrough Media)
This is the view that has been afforded to most of Nibali's rivals as he's ridden out of sight in what has been a dominant Tour victory, which included four stage wins. (Pic: BrakeThrough Media)
Most Tour de France contenders don't like to tempt fate by riding a yellow machine too early in the race but, with the final stage effectively a procession for the champion, Nibali was happy to swap. (Pic: Sirotti)
Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) secured victory in the King of the Mountains classification on stage 18 by finishing third behind Nibali and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr) and Specialized produced a polka dot Tarmac for the 24-year-old Pole, who also won two stages. (Pic: BrakeThrough Media)
Majka, who has been tipped as a future Tour de France winner, also wore a polka dot Specialized helmet and polka dot RH+ sunglasses for the final stage. (Pic: Sirotti)
Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) won stage one in Harrogate and his team's co-sponsor had this yellow Giant Propel frame ready and waiting in the mechanics' truck in the event of the German triumphing and taking the first maillot jaune of the race.
Follow this link for a closer look at Kittel's yellow machine.
Lotto-Belisol's Tony Gallopin took a surprise lead in the general classification on stage nine and that prompted his team's bike sponsor, Belgian brand Ridley, to paint a yellow Helium SL frame overnight, ready for the Lotto mechanics to build-up on the morning of stage ten. (Pic: Ridley)
The Frenchman's overall lead only lasted one day, with Nibali moving back to the top of the GC after winning stage ten on the climb of La Planche des Belles Filles, where Gallopin gave all he could in a bid to keep the maillot jaune past Bastille Day.
The Shark of Messina
Here's a look at the superb shark-themed S-Works Tarmac that Specialized made for Nibali ahead of the Grand Départ in Leeds.
The 29-year-old has devoured his rivals through the Tour, winning four stages and wearing the yellow jersey for all but three days of the race. The detail on Nibali's frame, which has an intricate glitter finish, is stunning. We wheeled away the machine for a closer inspection in
this pro bike gallery.
'One careful owner'
Specialized produced a custom machine for Mark Cavendish, whose Omega Pharma-QuickStep team are also sponsored by the American firm, though the Manx Missile's green and white S-Works Venge only received one competitive outing after Cavendish crashed out on stage one.
Cavendish won the Tour's green jersey - or 'maillot vert' - in 2011 and has since made green his signature colour. The one-off frame featured a green glitter finish on the fork (also enscribed with Cavendish's signature), seattube, chainstays and underside of the downtube.
You can find more pictures of Cav's steed here.
Cannondale regularly pull out the stops for their star rider, Peter Sagan, who is a big fan of superheroes. Last year his Tour de France bike had a Hulk theme, while this year's SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod was based on a Wolverine design.
Here's our full-screen photo gallery profiling the bike on which the Slovak sensation eased to a third successive green jersey.
Release your inner animal
Cannondale also produced animal-themed bikes for the rest of the squad. Each rider received a custom bike painted by London-based artist Death Spray, depicting their individual personality and riding style.
The team in full: Elia 'The Puma' Viviani, Fabio 'The Bull' Sabatini', Maciej 'The Bison' Bodnar, Alessandro ‘The Chameleon’ De Marchi, Ted ‘The Gizzly Bear’ King, Kristian ‘The Lion’ Koren, Jean-Marc ‘The Fox’ Marino and, of course, Peter 'The Wolverine' Sagan.
Orica-GreenEDGE team leader Simon Gerrans was crowned Australian national champion for a second time in January and the Melbourne-rider has been riding a custom Scott Foil in honour of that achievement.
Green and gold
The Aussie's machine wears a subtle paintjob in the iconic green and gold of his home nation. Gerrans' bike is further personalised by his logo on the toptube. The Foil is Scott's aero bike and one of two road machines available to Orica-GreenEDGE riders alongside the super-light Addict, the weapon of choice for Gerrans' young team-mate, Simon Yates.
You can see Yates' bike here.
Stars and stripes
BMC also sought to add some personality to the bikes of their riders by applying stickers depicting their national flag to the toptube. Peter Stetina was one of two American's on BMC Racing's Tour de France squad, riding in support of compatriot Tejay Van Garderen, who finished fifth overall. We wheeled away
Van Garderen's BMC TeamMachine SLR01 for a photo shoot.
BMC Racing's multi-national Tour de France squad also included one German (Marcus Burghardt), one Colombian (Darwin Atapuma), one Frenchman (Amael Moinard), one Italian (Daniel Oss), one Swiss (Michael Schar), one Belgian (Greg van Avermaet) and one Slovakian (Peter Velits),
Rui Costa enjoyed a sensational 2013, winning the Tour de Suisse, two stages of the Tour de France and, of course, the World Championships. Needless to say, Merida, the co-sponsor of the team alongside Lampre, are keen to shout about the presence of the world champion in their squad and Costa has a machine decked out in the rainbow stripes as a result.
On the limit
Costa started the season on Merida's aero bike, the Reacto EVO, but switched to a new machine, the Reacto KOM, for the Tour, based around a frame which shares the same aero tube profiles as the EVO, but with half-a-kilogram dropped out of the bike to bring it down to the UCI's 6.8kg weight limit. You can take a closer look at
the world champion's bike here.